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Giants 4, Pirates 3: Matt Cain Strikes Out Eight

For the third consecutive day, the Pirates struggled with the Giants' starting pitcher; this time it was Matt Cain, who lowered his season ERA to 2.32 with an eight-strikeout performance, allowing his only run on a solo homer by Brandon Moss in the second. Zach Duke stuck with Cain until he allowed a series of doubles in the sixth. Joel Hanrahan pitched well in the eighth, striking out Pablo Sandoval and getting a couple of flyouts from Nate Schierholtz and Edgar Renteria.

It's been interesting to get a closer look at Sandoval this series--it confirmed my impression that he's basically like a much better Randall Simon. He swings at everything, even pitches in the dirt, and does better than you might expect because he has excellent hand-eye coordination. (His body type also looks like a caricature of Simon.) Unlike Simon, it is possible to strike Sandoval out, so it'll be interesting to see how his career develops. It looked like Hanrahan whiffed him because he had no incentive to throw anything in the strike zone. 

Anyway, the Pirates got a couple of runs back on a two-RBI single by Ryan Doumit, but then Adam LaRoche came up with Doumit on first and one out. I bet you can predict what happened next--LaRoche dribbled a ground ball for a double play, and on a 3-0 count, nonetheless. The Bucs couldn't do much with closer Brian Wilson in the ninth, and the Giants avoided the sweep.

Giants vs Pirates boxscore